Move over Eminem—there’s a new white hip-hop artist on the block—and he’s got an important global cause to discuss.
Unlike most hip-hop artists who chant about their lives and failed relationships, “Baba Brinkman” does some good with his lyrical poetry by raising climate change awareness through hip-hop in a one-man theatre show.
The 37-year-old native Canadian, clad in jeans, black tee and converse sneakers who calls himself “globe-trotting solo artist” has been performing at New York City’s Soho Playhouse the past month.
Through 24-character-driven song chapters and background slides of climate-change related videos, Baba not only entertains, but enlightens both the environmentally conscious and unconscious, urging individuals, companies and governments to unite in order to battle this urgent “existential threat.” While the stage is set up like a comedy club, with a stool, mic and a spotlight, and the artist doesn't take himself too seriously, the subject discussed is no laughing matter.
Some of the details are still up for debate. They fluctuate between certain disaster and likely disaster, slow and steady or higher and faster
Consensus—it’s the lowest common denominator, which means probably gonna be way worse than the wars, famines, droughts, floods
Hurricanes, heatwaves, murders, thugs
Chaos, refugees, stress, disease, extinction, disaster, IPCC
So be afraid, be very afraid, but we’re not, despite what the scenarios say. And the effect of talking about it is visible yawning, and occasionally changing our behavior microscopically, and even those who get it, tend to get it logically, but not viscerally, so we’re navigating myopically
The threat is existential, it’s not environmental, and your individual response is inconsequential
Only coordination of our whole species is gonna keep coastal cities form sinking below the deep seas
When was the last time a solution included all of us? Geophysics is at the mercy of geopolitics?
Climate change communicators—keep it positive, people need to feel that they still have options
And we do have options, either we find a solution, or we stick with the business-as-usual level pollution, and get used to the
Wars, famines, droughts, floods …
His raps are timely and edgy as he mixes famed pop culture lines with knowledgeable climate change stats that make the experience enjoyable while educational to all generations.
He discusses everything from Pope Francis’ take on climate change via the Pontiff’s Tweets, to proof that carbon emissions are intensifying global warming, to highlighting and debunking arguments by climate deniers.
Baba, a.k.a. Dirk Murray is no stranger to eco-friendliness, it’s in his blood. Growing up in British Columbia, his mother, Joyce Murray, was a Member of the Parliament of Canada and his father, Dirk Brinkman, Sr., founded the world’s only private company responsible for planting more than 1 billion trees.
The married father of a toddler, who studied human evolution and primatology, admits on stage to wanting a better future for his daughter and future generations through his climate-change awareness rap.
“He’s multitalented, he can write and rap. But most of all he is making a difference by educating the public about climate change,” said Gherald Alaman, a 30-something audience member from Parsippany, NJ who came to see Baba's performance.
Brinkman later does a Q&A on stage with a climate expert or scientist. Last week he was joined by Elke Weber, a Columbia University professor and co-director of the school's Earth Institute's Center for Research on Environmental Decisions and the Center for Decision Sciences.
Whether one’s a climate-change believer or denier, the facts remain that major scientific agencies in the country — including the National Aeronautics, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) — agree that climate change is occurring and that humans are contributing to it. In 2010, the National Research Council concluded that "Climate change is occurring, is very likely caused by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems." Many independent scientific organizations have released similar statements, both in the U.S. and abroad. This doesn't necessarily mean that every scientist sees eye to eye on each component of the climate change problem, but broad agreement exists that climate change is happening and is primarily caused by excess greenhouse gases from human activities, according to the EPA.
Scientists are still researching a number of important questions, including exactly how much Earth will warm, how quickly, and what the consequences of the warming will be in specific regions of the world. They continue to research these questions so society can be better informed about how to plan for a changing climate. However, enough certainty exists about basic causes and effects of climate change to justify taking actions that reduce future risks.
For more information on Baba Brinkman’s performances, go to his website.